Concerned about overall sustainability of Campbell River budget

I am writing out of concern of your apparent disregard for members of the Campbell River community

I am writing out of concern of your apparent disregard for members of the Campbell River community that have been struggling financially since the closure of the pulp mill.

This includes the employees that were let go and their disposable income which supported the small businesses and facilities…look around at all of the commercial space that has become available within the last two years and the limited employment opportunities.

We, my husband and I have less than 15 yrs to retirement and are now needing to discuss the viability of staying in Campbell River for our retirement. The leaders of the town are unable to consider the financial plight of many residents and small business people that have been effected by the mill closure. Many of these people have been hanging on with little or no money to spare…one missed pay check and the mortgage is in arrears…one unexpected bill and everything goes in the air and the creditors are out with vengeance. People on fixed incomes are becoming more vulnerable to reduced services available to them due to a reduced tax base and reduced charitable donations within the community.

Many people have had to make harsh adjustments to their activities and spending habits and yet our council is slow to respond and has just seen fit to pass a bylaw to increase our residential taxes. I was entirely shocked that Councillor Moglove at the last council meeting had the nerve to suggest to the people on fixed income that they could defer their taxes until they sold their home as an answer…they still would be paying those taxes and be hit with the difference at the time of selling their property…not a reasonable solution. We would love to live out our retirement years in Campbell River but not with this sort of attitude displayed by Councillor Moglove.

There are two areas that our council need to quit putting their head in the sand about…

  • The paid fire department verses a volunteer fire department with a few paid staff (Courtenay Volunteer FD model works well)
  • The number of CR City departments that could be amalgamated to reduce administration and management costs.

I know that Mayor Jakeway, Councillor Adams and Councillor Kerr are understanding of the dire condition of the City Halls Financial affairs and the curse of postponing hard financial decisions for another year. It is my hope that the balance of council will have more time to digest the demise of poor fiscal management and will consider more serious cuts to the budget next year. As a tax payer I would welcome a reversal of this years increase.

Please start considering now how you are going to address reducing the abhorrent cost of the full time paid fire department and how you are going to reduce the number of departments in the City of Campbell River in order to get the annual budget sustainable without use of reserves or increasing taxes.

I am concerned about the overall sustainability of the City of Campbell River at large.

Kathryn Alexander

Campbell River Resident and Tax payer